What Not to Eat
The optimal diet is a plant-based wholefood diet, supplemented with fish. In practice, there are so many hidden saturated fats in foods that we simply have to make a conscious choice to have none at all knowingly. Swank recommends aiming at less than 20g/day of saturated fat, but also points out that those people taking between 5 and 10g do even better. Given the evidence that saturated fat is harmful, why take any in at all. In addition, there is the work of nutritionist Colin Campbell, author of The China Study, who, among many others, argues that the best food for human health is a plant-based wholefood diet. I think that should be the goal for people with MS (and really for optimal health for everybody).
Foods That Should Not Be Eaten
So for people with MS foods to avoid are:
- Meat, including processed meat, salami, sausages, canned meat.
- Eggs except for egg whites.
- Dairy products; that is, avoid milk, cream, butter, ice cream and cheeses. Low fat milk or yoghurt is not acceptable. Cow’s milk and dairy products are best avoided altogether as the protein is likely to be as much of a problem as the saturated fat, given recent evidence. Soy products or rice or oat milk are good substitutes.
- Any biscuits, pastries, cakes, muffins, doughnuts or shortening, unless fat-free.
- Snacks like chips, corn chips, party foods.
- Margarine, shortening, lard, chocolate, coconut and palm oil. There is some debate about chocolate as it does have some good antioxidants, but most chocolate is also loaded with saturated fat, so it is one of the foods to avoid with MS. Cocoa, however, is a natural vegetable product with only a little saturated fat, and the occasional teaspoon in a glass of soy milk for example, as hot chocolate, is fine.
- Fried and deep fried foods except those fried without oil or with just a dash of olive oil. It is important not to heat oils if possible, and if you want to use just a little extra virgin olive oil, the most stable of the oils, it is a good idea to put a little water in with it when frying to keep its temperature down. Things like fish and chips deep fried in, say, sunflower oil, are bad, in that the oil changes its chemical structure when heated in this way, and tends to be left in the vat for days, with all sorts of unpredictable chemical changes happening to the fats.
- Most fast foods (burgers, fried chicken, etc.)